Integrated Brake Control Enhancing safety

The key actuators in a vehicle are the braking and steering systems. Now ZF has developed Integrated Brake Control, a braking system that enhances driving safety and can also be used for automated driving functions.

Braking systems are becoming an increasingly important feature in cars. First, they play a key role in vehicle safety. Second, they are an integral part of the advanced technology required for automated driving. Roadworthy driverless cars are expected to appear by 2020. First steps in this direction are the many driver-assist systems developed over the last few years that already significantly enhance braking systems today. In addition, driver-assist systems also support emergency braking when the situation calls for it, provide use radar to check the distance to the vehicle ahead and prevent rear-end collisions by means of predictive braking.

Integrated Brake Control: braking technology of the future

Starting in 2018, the Integrated Brake Control will go into high-volume production with a major vehicle manufacturer. The system supports both conventional braking features as well as semi-automated driving functions. IBC effectively replaces the electronic stability control (ESC) system and vacuum boosting system formerly used to exploit the negative pressure in the engine’s air-intake system to boost braking power and thus works across virtually all powertrain configurations. In the IBC system, a high-precision actuator is driven by an extremely fast electric motor. This motor is what enables IBC’s excellent braking performance and ESC functionality.

ZF braking technology worldwide

ZF is a world leader in advanced braking and steering systems, with top-ranked experts playing an instrumental role in the ongoing development of this field. ZF’s brake-related production facilities employ 11,800 people in 12 countries; another 2,000 employees work in R&D centers in five countries around the world.

The motor is designed to generate high brake pressure in less than 150 milliseconds, thus helping to reduce stopping distances. This is a prerequisite for meeting the stringent new test protocols of the European New Car Assessment Program (EURO NCAP), which simulate pedestrians and cyclists crossing the road and require correspondingly shorter braking distances. “NCAP requirements for automatic emergency braking (AEB) have played a major role in the development of IBC features,” explains Manfred Meyer, Vice President Global Brake Engineering at ZF TRW, “because in addition to enhancing driver-assist features with high performance cameras and radars, faster and more powerful braking systems are the only way to satisfy these requirements.”

In a series of outdoor tests with dummy pedestrians, IBC is called upon to prove its stopping power.

Integrating driving functions

Another ZF innovation is the premium version of the EBC 460 electronic stability control system, which is now installed in a number of vehicles, including the new BMW 7 Series. Not only does the system support numerous advanced braking functions, it is also capable of acting as an integration platform – a black box, as it were, containing the software algorithms used to control a wide variety of automated driving, safety, chassis and driveline functions.

In addition to brakes, ZF also produces steering systems. These are also among the most important onboard actuators in cars, hence represent a key element in ZF’s SEE, THINK, ACT concept. In 2016, ZF also perfected the company’s Active Kinematics Control (AKC) system, which delivers benefits in almost all driving situations by adjusting rear-axle tracking in passenger cars. Benefits include a reduced turning circle, improved vehicle dynamics during cornering, and greater stability at high speeds.

Pictures: ZF

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